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How old is the Doctor?

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It's impossible to say how old the Doctor is. He has never been forthcoming about his past, and when he has talked about it he has been known to lie.

The early years of the show gave wildly inconsistent ages.[1] When Hinchcliffe and Holmes took over the show, they started from the last age the Doctor had given, 748[2], and aged him consistently from there,[3] up to at least 953.[4] The novels picked up from there, aging him to at least 1015[5] before the Doctor's amnesia and changing history made it impossible to give any reasonable age.[6]

In the new series, Russell T Davies claimed he had avoided giving any age—the 9th Doctor talked about '900 years of time and space',[7] and '900 years of phone-box travel'.[8] However, at one point,[9] he directly confirmed to Rose that 900 was his actual age. The fans and press picked up on this, and the 10th Doctor confirmed that he was in his early 900s many times.[10]

Since Steven Moffat took over, he's had the 11th Doctor claim ages consistent with the 10th—he said he was 907[11], then 909[12], and, after nearly 200 years on his own, 1103[13]. However, at the same time, he's made it very clear off-camera that this is not the Doctor's actual age. Most famously:

The thing I keep banging on about is that he doesn't know what age he is. He's lying. How could he know, unless he's marking it on a wall? He could be 8,000 years old, he could be a million. He has no clue. The calendar will give him no clues.

And, even if that 1103 is his actual age in "The Impossible Astronaut" (and therefore also in "The Wedding of River Song"), we don't know whether the Christmas special was the next day, two years later (as his visit in the closing scene was for Amy and Rory), or decades later. By the start of the second half of Series 7, the Doctor was claiming an age of "only" 1,000.[14]

On several occasions, dialogue has been written for episodes in which the Doctor states he cannot remember his actual age. However, it took until the 50th anniversary story [15] for the Doctor to finally admit that he couldn't remember if his stated age was his real age or if he was just making it up.

If we are talking just the ages mentioned on the 2005- version of the show, then during David Tennants Doctor time he claimed to be 907 and then 909. Then in "The Impossible Astronaut" Matt Smiths Doctor claimed he was 1103. Then in "The Day Of The Doctor" he was quoted as saying "I don't know, 1200 and something unless I'm lying, I cant remember if I'm lying or not, that's how old I am". Then after the events and time that took place in "The Time Of The Doctor" Peter Capaldi in "Deep Breath" is quoted as saying "I'm The Doctor, i've lived for over 2000 years..." Then we have the time that was spent in the prison inside his Confession Dial, every time The Doctor re-teleported a new doctor in, he would last for ~6000-7000 years which if you add the ~7000 onto the already ~2000 then that would put The Doctor at around ~9000 years old by the end of the 9th Season. I did not count the four and a half billion years that The Doctor was actually trapped in the Confession Dial, because each time he did the re-teleport thing, his body was still in the same state and age he was in when he was first uploaded into the teleport buffer system which was ~2000 years old. So only the ~7000 years of each cycle in the castle + the ~2000 years he already had should actually be counted.

See Also Edit

Footnotes Edit

  1. For example, the Third Doctor claimed to be several thousand years old in "The Mind of Evil" and "Doctor Who and the Silurians", but the Second Doctor claims only 450 in "The Tomb of the Cybermen", which via the presence of Jamie McCrimmon only takes place a few years, at most, prior to the Doctor's regeneration.
  2. "Planet of the Spiders"
  3. The 4th Doctor sometimes fudged his age downward a little, as in "The Seeds of Doom", or "The Ribos Operation"—where Romana caught him and he admitted it.
  4. "Time and the Rani"
  5. "Vampire Science" (novel)
  6. "The Burning" and beyond, not to mention the problems dating the EDA novels vs. The NEDA audios.
  7. "Aliens of London"
  8. "The Empty Child"
  9. "Aliens of London"
  10. "Voyage of the Damned" where he says 903; "The Infinite Quest", etc.
  11. "Flesh and Stone"
  12. "The Impossible Astronaut"
  13. "The Impossible Astronaut"
  14. "The Bells of Saint John"
  15. "The Day of the Doctor"

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